New sperm research aims to improve understanding of fertility

1 November 2016

A major new sperm research project has been launched to gain a better understanding of male fertility and potentially create new solutions to address infertility.

The University of Birmingham research will bring together mathematicians, bioengineers, computer engineers and clinicians to create a system for identifying which sperm are most likely to successfully fertilise an egg.

Phase-contrast imaging will be used to observe sperm before analysing the data mathematically. This could result in the development of new equipment for use in andrology clinics to identify the condition of sperm and see which treatment or lifestyle changes may be required.

This will result in an improvement in the advice provided to couples going through fertility treatment, reducing levels of distress and unnecessary spending, while leading to more healthy births.

Study leader Dr Dave Smith from the University of Birmingham said: "We would be able to give people the right kind of advice on lifestyle choices - so, for example, if smoking is damaging sperm quality, we can identify that and advise the patient accordingly."

Currently, male infertility accounts for about half of all infertility cases, but the limitations of available diagnostic methods prevents the issue from being dealt with effectively.

Posted by Edward Bartel

 


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